When I found out I was going to be having a boy 2 years ago, one of the first questions that plagued me for months was whether or not to have him circumcised. I posed the question on this blog seeking advice and instead got lectured by both sides of this controversial debate. Like politics, lines had been drawn in the sand and to cross them made you a traitor to t’other. Those pro-circ referred to the penis’ foreskin as “stinky cheese” and “a breeding ground for disease and bacteria.” Those anti-circ accused me of wanting to “mutilate my son” and that I must want to have sexual relations with my son as all I am doing is “making his penis more attractive to me.” You can read the original post and part of the conversation here. The entire conversation made me ill…both sides were shouting and it was clear that in order for me to make a decision I would need to shut everyone up and do my own research. So I stopped the conversation by ending the capability for comments, stepped away from the conversation for a while, and when my head was cool…I did some research. After a plethora of reading, talking to a number of other friends with kids, talking to other fathers, talking with my wife, and taking time…my wife and I made up our mind about what was the right decision for our son. That decision is private.
As much as I loved being called names, chastised, and receiving death threats (for a decision I hadn’t made!) I am going to re-open the conversation in light of the American Academy of Pediatrics‘ decision Monday to change their stance on circumcision saying “Evaluation of current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks and that the procedure’s benefits justify access to this procedure for families who choose it.” The Academy goes on to say “Although health benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns, the benefits of circumcision are sufficient to justify access to this procedure for families choosing it.” For the full statement please click here.
In the comment section of this post please tell us your thoughts bearing in mind that many of my readers are fathers-to-be facing the same decisions I’ve faced. My readers are international so what’s right for the American might be left for the Australian. As well, this is a conversation so please take a moment to read the comments left by others before diving in…the point you want to make may have just been made. Please keep in mind religious aspects, be respectful, and no name calling. Any comments that veer from “conversation mode” to “tirade” or “lecture” will not be approved (as in the initial conversation). Everyone is entitled to their opinion and opinions are not wrong…they may be different from your opinion…but they are still opinions.
Allow me to start the conversation: While the decision I made for my son is now (and always will be) private – my stance is not: I believe the right decision, when it comes to circumcising or not, is whatever decision the parents make. Parenting is making decisions about the unknown. Your decisions will have affect on your child both positive and negative…but you still have to make a decision. Look to your parents, your friends, your family and the right answer for you in this situation (and all situations) will present itself. To quote the concluding sentence of the policy statement released yesterday by the Academy, “Parents ultimately should decide whether circumcision is in the best interests of their male child. They will need to weigh medical information in the context of their own religious, ethical, and cultural beliefs and practices. The medical benefits alone may not outweigh these other considerations for individual families.”
The conversation is reopened.